Yuba College student writes 10th book at 18 years old
The young-adult genre is an extremely polarized realm of crossover and fusion, taking inspiration from just about every other literary genre, but tailoring especially it for teenagers. At one end of the spectrum, young-adult authors pen tales of angst, urban fantasy, and young romance found in such works as Harry Potter, Twilight, and The Hunger Games. On the other end of the spectrum, young-adult authors write about the coming of age, dealing with realism, and facing the struggles of maturity, as exemplified by the works of John Green.
Enter Austin Dewart, Yuba College student, local author, and self-identified young-adult writer. Dewart has 10 manuscripts completed or near completion that are currently being sent to agents, editors, and publishing houses. The first of his novels titled “Somewhere with the Wind” will be available for pre-order on Dec. 14 and hits shelves, both physical and digital, on Jan. 14, 2015.
It is a story of a troubled young man that meets a girl that might change his life for the better, but due to his emotional insecurity and circumstances out of his control, he fears their love won’t be strong enough to face an unleashed adversity coupled with his impending loss of hope. But perhaps fate has other plans?
Afterwards, he will publish “One Last Cast,” a somber, yet inspirational tale of a high school student diagnosed with cancer and given less than 6 months to live, but refuses to take it sitting down. The protagonist embarks on a personal quest to experience as much of the world as he possibly can while he still has the time and the strength to muster the journey.
Recently, I conducted a Q&A with the up and coming talent, who has attained a following of 26,000 people on Twitter and amassed over 20,000 likes on Facebook.
Michael Young: How long have you been writing for?
Austin Dewart: Since I was a freshman in high school I’ve been writing short stories. From there I moved on to novellas and novels and it just sort of snowballed onto the point I am at now as an author.
Young: What are your literary influences? Is there a particular author you enjoy?
Dewart: Rick Riordan. His Percy Jackson series got me into reading as a kid and from there I just kept on going with writing through high school.
Young: How old were you when you published your very first book?
Dewart: My first novella was finished at sixteen, and the many subsequent novels that have followed from my very first one are all based on the same principle of work ethic.
Young: What do you hope to achieve with your latest book?
Dewart: I’m excited to see how many copies I can sell. Hopefully, the theme and story of the book will be able to touch some of the readers through the struggles and outcome of the main protagonist, Carson, as my beta readers have received the book.
Young: Where does your inspiration come from?
Dewart: Inspiration is not so key in writing as simply staying at one place and doing the actual writing itself. If you do this long enough, like I have, then you’ll know what to do by skill and be able to do it well rather than relying on inspiration or fretting writer’s block. Instead I would rather say I have more of a passion for writing rather than inspiration, since inspiration itself is not something I wait to act on when writing.
Young: With recent trends marking the decline of print media such as newspapers, what are your perceptions on the future of printed books?
Dewart: E-books reign supreme. That’s just the reality of this modern age and the way media is reciprocated. Most of my sales will be over E-book on formats like Kindle and Barnes and Noble. But there will be nothing like having a hardcover of your book in your hands after the long process of publishing is finally over. There will be a few local bookstores that will be carrying Somewhere with the Wind in both paperback and hardcover. For the future I see E-book continuing to rise, but not by much. Some people prefer to read on a tablet, otherwise like I physical copy. I do both. Eventually those numbers will even out.
Young: With that in mind, how do you feel about e-book readers like Kindle and the sort?
Dewart: I love them. They’re more ways to promote and sell my book. On Kindle in particular there will be stints where Somewhere with the Wind will go on sale via KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing). The more different platforms I can offer my book in, the better.
Young: You have written ten novels and accumulated over 1,000,000 words of text. How do you feel about this accomplishment?
Dewart: To be honest, it feels amazing. Most authors and writers it can take a decade to reach that number. I’ve done it in under two years simply by being prolific in my accumulation in daily word counts and determination to better myself as an author.
Young: What happens when you are longer a young-adult author?
Dewart: That will be a bittersweet day. I imagine it will happen when I grow up fully, attaining my masters and PhD. in creative writing and having a regular nine to five job.
I’ll probably move on to writing for more of an adult audience as I’ll no longer be a teenager and I’m no sure if writing strictly young adult genre books in my niche. I could move to thrillers or mysteries, you never know. The future is open to the interpretation of my future self and where he deems my next best step in writing to be.
Visit www.austindewart.com to check out a bio of the author, read excerpts of his work, and to view a trailer for “One Last Cast.”
Note: This article was featured in The Prospector Winter 2014 edition.